On a third-and-goal play that came with just 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter, 49ers linebacker Fred Warner appeared to interfere with Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister on a pass in the end zone. An interference penalty would have given the Seahawks the ball at the one-yard line with 12 seconds left to play, but there was no flag thrown.
Following the game, not only did Seahawks coach Pete Carroll say that heshould have been called, but he also added that he would definitely be talking to the league about why the call wasn’t made.
Well, Carroll has now talked to the league office and he had some very interesting things to say on Wednesday when he was asked about his conversation. For one, the NFL apparently “wishes” that the officiating crew had thrown a flag on the play.
“Here’s what I would tell you, they wish that they would’ve called a pass interference,” Carroll said, via Pro Football Talk. “They can look and see, and they would’ve called pass interference, I think. That would probably be the feeling I got because you easily could’ve called it, and nobody would’ve complained about the call other than the guy that grabbed him. That would’ve made everything a whole lot cleaner and all that.”
Carroll’s answer is somewhat interesting because if the league does in fact “wish” that a flag had been thrown, that would seem to be an indirect shot at NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron, who could have overturned the play on review. Instead, not only did Riveron let the no-call stand, but hewas enough contact on the play to justify a stop of the game for a formal review.
Although Riveron didn’t review the play, Carroll didn’t seem to mind that aspect of how things went down, because he knows that the odds would have been against a reversal on a pass interference no-call.
“It’s difficult for those guys to put a flag down on the field [via replay review],” Carroll said. “It’s got to be so egregious that there’s a standard to it. Had it been called on the field, they never would’ve overturned that from what I understand.”
The penalty flag was huge because it potentially changed the fortunes of all six NFC playoff teams. If the Seahawks benefited from the flag being thrown and scored a touchdown to win the game, the first round of the NFC playoffs would have a completely different look.
Here’s what the field would have looked like with a Seahawks win:
No. 6 Minnesota at No. 3 Seattle
No. 5 San Francisco at No. 4 Philadelphia
BYES: No. 1 Green Bay, No. 2 New Orleans
As you can see, the 49ers would have been stuck playing in the wild-card round and the Saints would have received a bye. Instead, the 49ers got the bye thanks to their win and the Saints are stuck playing in the opening round against the Vikings.
Here’s what the actual playoff field looks like as we head into Wild Card Weekend:
No. 6 Minnesota at No. 3 New Orleans
No. 5 Seattle at No. 4 Philadelphia
BYES: No. 1 San Francisco, No. 2 Green Bay